Monday, December 31, 2007

Football Know-It-All

I walked in and Pop was watching the Sun Bowl between Oregon and South Florida.

I got there just as the Aflac Trivia Question came up. The question was, "Who was the last defensive lineman to be named MVP of the Sun Bowl?"

Umm, if you know that one without looking it up, you're either a sportswriter, or someone who spends way, way too much time on football.

You can see the answer here

A Blast Of Optimism

Sometimes, it's really how you look at things that can make the difference in the interpretation. Let's think about it this way: 2008 has to be a better year than 2007, because I really think we hit the ultimate rock bottom this year.

Things have happened, the likes of which most of us have never seen before, and if you needed one more kick to remind you of how intensely pitiful we, as a society, have become, consider this:

  • GARLAND, Texas (AP) — An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

    While gripping, it wasn't true — and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

Read it. It's unbelievable. And the way the mother tries to explain it away is just the thud off the bedrock that validates my opinion.

Think about everything else that's happened this year: Paris in Prison, Britney Spears in Everything...The US Government as a whole: President Bush's Administration, Senator Craig, the Presidential campaign so far. But our performance as people wasn't much better...

  • In one Maine school district, the school board has okayed the distribution of birth control that could be given to girls as young as twelve.

  • The idiot "judge" who sued a dry cleaner for $65 million over a pair of pants. Mind you, it is presumed that this man received at least some formal education.

  • Can't forget the astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who drove cross-country in a diaper now, can we? She was going to confront her romantic rival.

  • We allowed China a shot at taking over the US by poisoning us with lead paint, antifreeze in our toothpaste, but didn't really get mad until they messed with our dog food. Then people really spoke up! But most Americans don't care if you sell them hazardous waste, as long as they can get it at Walmart, and as long as it's cheap.

  • And what happened to the National Pastime, huh? In November, Giants' slugger Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, and testing positive for steroids use. This was just after he broke the all-time Home Run record, in October, mind you.

  • And nothing got people motivated like the arrest of Michael Vick on dog-fighting charges. We throw human babies in dumpsters, sometimes when they're still alive, and go on with our business, but let someone offend a four-legged friend, and WHAMMO! STOP TRAFFIC!

Unfortunately, a list of American Screw-Ups could go on all day, but you get the point. Can 2008 really go any lower? Can people be any more stupid than they were in the last 365 1/4 days?

I'm brimming with optimism for the year ahead. Life has to get easier because hey, take a look around. We don't have a formal English language anymore, so I can just write what I want, even make up words, such as, like ungood, and eventually, evolution will do away with our good friends . ' , ; : ! ) ( so take a good look at that bunch before they fade away.

And my musical career will flourish in the coming 12 months. I have the utmost confidence that with the right computer and editing software, I can create and sell my first million albums. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but...

But seriously, you can only get so wet, no matter how much water they dump on you, right? I really think Americans hit the zenith of stupidity and contemptuous behavior in 2007, because not only did a lot of people do a lot of stupid things, they figured that we were stupid when they tried to sell the logic behind their actions. When one idiot assumes that everyone else is completely stupid, it might be the indicator of a major turnaround.

So yes, I believe 2008 will be a better year by simple virtue of my belief that it can't get any worse. I think that by default now, the government will actually do one thing this year that isn't completely moronic (that itself will make it a better year, because in 2007, Moron Politics batted .1000, and that was without the use of steroids).

And some of my optimism may be too ambitious, but is there anything truly wrong with hoping we're entering a new year, a new era, a new world? Am I crazy to believe that this is the year when or or become more heavily visited than or Is it over-the-edge to wish for the return of grammar and punctuation? Could it be too far-fetched of me to think that the next time I see the word "your" it will be in the context of possession, as in "your house", and not yet another bastardization of the contraction meaning "you are"?

Oh yes, I know that there is no such thing as Utopia, because what might be perfect for me could be purely toxic for you. But all I really and truly want would be a country where we get our priorities in order, and act accordingly. We pay more attention to Viral Videos than we do to the AIDS virus. The problem of starving children only comes to mind when some celebrities walk the Red Carpet at some fund-raising project. Global Warming is something we "deal" with by selling $1000 cloth shopping bags.

Electing someone like Hillary Clinton won't solve our problems. It will only replace them with a whole new set of problems. Let's face it, does getting kicked in the left shin really hurt that much less than getting kicked in the right one? The political process can be likened to taking out the can of stinky kitchen garbage only to replace it with our neighbors' can of stinky garbage.

Success in this country is now measured in terms of how long one can get away with cheating, or who can screw the most people for the longest time.

It's really a matter of saying "Enough!" Companies like Mattel import toys for our children that have the capability of poisoning them, and yet we shop on. The banks in this country thought that they could cash in by giving mortgages to people who can't financially afford them, and attaching ridiculous interest rates to those mortgages. And now that this practice has nearly bankrupted the system, the burden has been place on the shoulders of consumers. Politicians address a problem such as illegal immigration by taking measures that say, "Oh well, you broke the law, but there are so many of you, help yourself to the best we have to offer!" A man like Eliot Spitzer has no business running anyone's government. Vote him out, simple as that. Vote them all out. It's the only hope that really exists, and it's the only language that politicians ever really hear.

The Internet has given voice to a great many people. The First Amendment has been tested like never before, due mostly to our propensity as a people to take things to extremes in ways never intended or foreseen. We need to refocus our efforts in using this medium, and stop making it a stage for circus sideshows. There is power in the voice of the people, but only so long as it can be taken seriously.

The good thing about hope is that it always seems to exist. While my premise that things have to get better because they seemingly can't get any worse is a little skewed, I believe it's a valid point. People have been shocked, revolted, upset and annoyed to the point where I believe we've reached the saturation level, and I think when nothing more can fit in the barrel, it's time for a different kind of barrel. That's what's going to keep me going into the new year ahead.

It might be a crazy way to look at things, but I think it's one that just might work. I wish you all the very best in 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

After Christmas Agita!


I happened to be making a return to Walmart late yesterday afternoon. The returns area is right up front by the cashiers, and I heard some very unhappy customers getting very riled up.

It started slowly, but it got ugly pretty quickly.

Seems like the good folks at Walmart had a problem redeeming all those gift cards that they didn't seem to have a problem selling (funny how it works like that?). Their "third-party verification" company had a "system error" which rendered the gift card balances to $0. (again, funny how that happens, notice nobody's cards erroneously went to $1 million).

I just wonder if this "third party" is another one of those "outsourced" parts of the business?

Another "WOW"... I had purchased a video camera for my oldest girl. It turned out to be the wrong model. She wants to be able to share her videos, YouTube, email back and forth, etc., and the camera we chose didn't do it. The salesperson insisted it did, but that's for another day.

We returned it, and went to a store where I thought the salespeople would be a little more capable and qualified. Circuit City.

After explaining exactly what we wanted to buy, the salesperson presented us with a Canon that was said to be "exactly what we needed!"

It wasn't. You can't tell this stuff from reading the outside of the box, you have to open it. But we didn't know, so we took his word for it. His word was worthless. Or more accurately, it was worth about 55 bucks. That's what Circuit City charged me as a "restocking fee", despite the fact that I only bought it at the salesperson's recommendation.

I immediately thought of that Dire Straits tune, Money For Nothing, except there were no "chicks for free", ya know?

Seems that they allow themselves to keep a healthy portion of your purchase price simply because you open the box. I wanna get in on that...I'll sell you products that are completely wrong, then keep a vig when you return it. Nice. Something to consider in the New Year, huh?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Very Stupid Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the air,

was the sound of kids' laughter, as Dad fell down the stairs.

He did that, of course, for a very good reason:

It's the traditional start of the Holiday Season!

With lights that won't blink, and the garland in knots,

He knows just the things to bring joy to these tots.

The gifts that he thinks will all be a big hit,

Are toys that are broken, and clothes that don't fit!

Each year he starts early, but still can't believe,

That he's got to go shopping at 10, Christmas Eve.

Away to the mall he flies like a flash,

Tears open the wallet and throws up the cash.

The gleam on the breast of the new-fallen snow

is ice that sends him sprawling to the ground way below.

But nothing is broken, he's back on his way!

He's got to get done 'fore the end of the day.

Such a talented driver, so lively and quick,

he has to get home, ahead of St Nick.

All that wrapping to do, and a big tree to trim,

he knows what a long night is out there for him.

"Now Stupid! It's time to get on with the show!"

Each gift to be wrapped and topped off with a bow!

He wraps like greased lighting tearing through all those bags,

And then realizes he forgot the gift tags...

"On Stupid! Start over, this time get it right,

Or there'll be no sleeping this Christmas Eve night!"

The taping and wrapping and tagging did he,

And when he looked up, it was quarter to three!

Was time to get trimming, with garland and bows,

and of course lots of those needles stuffed up the nose,

but there in the branches of this year's blue spruce:

A SQUIRREL, oh no, and the damned thing is loose!

So chaos ensued as he ran 'cross the floor,

to chase this new houseguest right out the front door.

With a crash and a bang and a boom did he run,

and with one sharp heave the eviction was done!

It was back to tree-trimming at a quarter to four,

with a moment for cursing when the tree hit the floor.

But determined he was, as he worked through the night,

and placed the tree-topper at the break of day's light.

His work he had finished, and no one was dead,

he was smiling as he went in and lay down on the bed!

Just then the kids burst in without any warning,

Yelling "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good morning!"

Better luck next year, huh?


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Shopping Review

Well, I guess it's time for the Annual Stupidsheet Shopping Review.

It went fairly well this year. I have definitely confirmed that it pays to shop around, and not just for a few pennies. I priced an item at 3 different sites. Macy's had it for $70 plus shipping, the manufacturer's own site had it for $59.99 plus shipping, and had it for $49.99 including shipping. That's pretty significant in my world.

Other online pleasantries were offered by 10 points from us. Good job with the site, the inventory, and the shipping. Same for

We're still sort of keeping our back turned on for their performance last year. Elephants and Stupids don't forget.

We had a pleasant surprise in the form of Freehold Raceway Mall in NJ. The parking was definitely at a premium, but because of the amount of people who showed up to shop, there are definitely plenty of actual parking lots.

Now that I'm one of those handicapped guys, I can joke about that. Having a handicapped permit in NY and NJ is a joke, for sure. I think 90% of the driving population of those 2 states is handicapped, at least as far as parking is concerned. So, I parked a few miles away and walked.

The mall itself is handicapped-friendly overall. Access is good, moving about the levels is easy. I'm not wheelchair-bound, so I can't rate it from that point of view, but I'd give the mall itself a gold star.

Stores that could use some revamping: As I said, the mall itself is very accomodating. However, some of the stores themselves could use some work. JCPenney is a nightmare for us less-than-able-bodied folks. They have very few checkouts, and in my case, involved a lot of walking through tight, messy aisles. and they're not easily visible. Penney's could take a look and maybe add a few cash registers. Also, Penney's merchandise is organized and marked pretty poorly. There was a section of Docker's pants marked down at various prices, one of which was $29.99, down from $60. But the pants were all mixed up, so the ones that were marked down to $49.99 were mixed up with the 29.99. And they let the customers go back to do the price verification. Nice. Not my favorite experience.

Winner of the "Are You Kidding Me?" Award. The Disney Store looked like Walmart. That's not a compliment. I never thought I would associate the words "what a shame" with anything Disney. This store was flat-out terrible. A mess, poorly stocked, and light on the sales staff. Who would think that the good Disney folks would ever allow something like that to bear the Disney label.

Awesome! Sears. Clean stores, well-stocked shelves, friendly, helpful staff. I was surprised, seeing how they merged with K-Mart. But it was a pleasant surprise.

Not too sure... Border's Books. Again, very large stores, not easy to navigate. One set of registers meant that we had to go up and down between levels to pick the books up, then hike to pay for them. Otherwise, ok rating. They could use a little more selection in the "Cooking" category though.

The laugh of the day The genuises at GAP Stores have decided that some of us will have no choice but to purchase online. They simply don't stock our sizes, and simply won't, in the stores themselves. Yes, 40/34, among others, is from this day forward an "Internet Size". From this day forward Gap is no longer my jeans supplier. DO NOT TELL ME THAT YOU'RE MAKING MY CHOICES FOR ME WHEN IT'S MY MONEY COMING OVER THE COUNTER. bye GAP.

Cool store Hollister. Quick, efficient staff, lots of merchandise.

Ooh, and one more "Bye Bye": I went to the UPS Store in Howell, NJ. As I got to the door, I read the hours and it clearly said "Saturday 8 to 4:30 PM" It was closed. At 3 PM. Nice job. I found an alternate shipping company. Buh bye UPS.

But overall, the results this year were a lot better than last year. Amazon-free, Sears-Wishbook free, and we still managed to get it done! How about that!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Good ways to screw up Improve your life

There aren't many sure things in life. Here are a few
that fit the bill

Get a DUI. Or for added fun, get a couple.

Have a baby when you're 16. A great way to stop yourself from
advancing, particulary in your education. That baby is a great way to
validate your existence.

Make a sex video, especially if you can do it with someone you've
been together with a long time, like, say, weeks.

And as far as the sex videos go, make sure a whole lot of people
know about it, and hey, share some copies. Friends would never take that
stuff public.

And if you don't have video equipment, hell, take some still-shots,
posing in the nude or something racy like that. Let a boyfriend you've
been with 3 or 4 days be the photographer!

Run for political office.

Trade all your self-respect and dignity in for a spot on a reality
show. Jerry Springer is a great springboard to the good life - or hey,
what about the great marriages spawned by The Bachelor!

vote for hillary clinton

Share the joy, don't be the only one whose life is improved:
refuse to provide any discipline, structure or value-system to your kids
(particularly if you have them when you're 12!) After all, the world is
here to cater to their every whim, and hard work is for suckers!

Ooh, and one more great tip: If you're battling legal issues,
get pregnant at the same time! That way you can give another life a great
head start!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Assessments: 2007

This is a great time for people who might not otherwise be able to break into the music business. Talent is so mediocre now that if you can remotely carry a tune and follow rhythm, the computer wizards in the music studios can make you a star.

That's one thought that comes to mind when I look at the accomplishments of my generation and those after. We're leaving some legacy, huh?

My age group in particular did a great job of destroying a lot of Americana.

Look what's happened to Baseball. Juiced-up losers breaking all kinds of records. Records that were astounding feats of athleticism eclipsed by incredible chemical performances.

Think back to the days of celebrity idol-worship. It was fun for some, fantasy for others, but people in this country at one time loved their Hollywood celebrities, and the Stars were like royalty when greeting the adoring throngs. Nowadays, "Celebrity News" means "who's in rehab", "who got a DUI", "who's the latest celeb to add the hot accessory, a baby, to their wardrobe".

It doesn't stop there.

Think about Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson...When was the last time you watched an NBA game on TV? Occasionally, Basketball does make the news, but usually only when there's a major brawl on a court somewhere.

And speaking of courts, how many NFL players wind up on the wrong end of the law?

Bring up names such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali; holders of one of the greatest sports titles in the world. Now quick: who is the Heavyweight Champion of the World?

Or, remember when "family time" meant wholesome programming that people could watch with their kids?

Yeah, things aren't like they used to be, huh?

But let's take an honest look at things a minute.

Remember that money talks. Loud and clear. So much of what goes on in this country is simply someone supplying a product to meet a demand. Cashola, baby.

Christmas starts sometime in July now. Everyone complains that Christmas is so commercial, but think about that footage you've seen of the maniacs trampling each other at 5 AM like psychotic wildebeest, to get into the store for that $99 laptop computer. Would these stores be practicing this kind of business if people weren't there to fork over the cash? Christmas can only be commercialized if people show up to shop.

Would a nest like TMZ have a TV show as well as a web site if people weren't there clicking and tuning in? What about Perez Hilton? Would he be anything other than the freak at the company Christmas party if he didn't have thousands of daily readers? Someone is buying this garbage, folks. They're not counterfeiting all the money they have.

You think for a minute if people stopped coming to NBA arenas altogether, we'd have the likes of who we do running up and down the courts?

You can't get an autograph from an athlete today without forking over a few bucks. What makes them think there's a market for that? Couldn't be the hundreds of people lining up, cash in hand, at "signings" now, could it?

When was the last time you got excited about a movie release. I mean really excited. And if you did, was the picture up to the hype?

And let's think about how everyone and his brother is "going Green". We have idiots running around with $1000 cloth shopping bags, but how many of us have permanently parked the car and jumped on a bicycle? Everybody is too busy telling everyone else what to do to actually do anything themselves.

Let's face it: things are crappy at best. And I know a few people would read this and say, "Oh, not me baby, I don't contribute to that!" And I know that if you ask people, no one eats frozen or canned vegetables, or sauce out of the less pasta from a box!

To which I would happily say, "Bull-shyte". These companies don't make millions selling nothing, now, do they?

We have to be honest. We're all part of the problem. All this garbage floating around there is being supported by great American Dollars. Walmart and Mattel can keep on marketing inferior goods (in some cases dangerous goods) and when the doors open tomorrow, we'll be there, wallets in hand, ready to take the next shipment off their hands. So let's stop kidding ourselves. Half the problems we have would go bye-bye if we spent our money elsewhere, believe it. But, American companies can sell inferior products, ship jobs overseas, and we'll just take it. And they'll keep doing it. We can carry on about "Global Warming" all we want. And we can change lightbulbs, and recycle hemp to make pants till we're blue in the face. The future of our planet is in the hands of Big Business, and the only way that Big stays "big" is by raking in the cash. And guess where those bankrolls are?

But, that's the nice thing about this time of the year. New Year, new opportunities to make things right. We can always change things in this country, if we just realized where the real power lies. That's all it would take. Writing letters, posting Blogs, holding protests, well they all sound good. But they don't do anything, really. The very first step toward change comes the first time that someone refuses to buy a product they don't approve of. Choose the products of a company who doesn't want your kids to be exposed to lead. Shop at stores that pay fair wages, and stock their shelves with American-made products. Refuse to allow the Chinese manufacturers to ship their poisoned garbage here. Insist on American-made by refusing to by foreign-made. It's right there on the label, folks...Country of Origin.

Trends start slowly. We didn't wind up in this position overnight, and we won't fix it overnight. But everytime you spend according to your conscience, you can make a statement. Nothing will get the attention of Big Business more quickly than falling sales.

It's time to stop pointing fingers. We all made this bed, we can all pitch in and carry it out to the trash.

That's the beauty of second-chances. Maybe 2008 can be a second chance. We can change what we say we hate, or find out and accept that we really don't. Good luck to us!

A Stupid PSA

There's been a lotta boot talk lately around my world! (that includes blogs, journals, phone calls, and conversations with my friends - YES I NEED A LIFE!)

Anyway, a complaint I hear quite often from my friends is, "Damned boots won't fit my calves!"

Well, calfly-challenged friends, your pal StupidJimmy found a great website that you may not know about.

It's a company called Duo Boots®, and they specialize in boots that fit women's calves a lot more comfortably than you might be used to. How cool is that? My plan to see every woman on Earth in boots has taken another great step forward.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Pop had a rough couple of days. And today we had to make that trek to the hospital to see his main Oncologist. The doctor had some blood tests run, and when the numbers came back, they were very encouraging. That seemed to be just what Pop needed to hear. His spirits lifted a lot.

We had a long ride home, and got back in the dark. When we went inside, I asked him if he wanted to eat anything. (he has gained 1 pound, incidentally) He said that he felt like having pancakes, so I whipped up a short stack for him.

The kitchen table is situated by a glass sliding door onto the yard. Now that the leaves are gone out there, you can see the highway off in the distance. Pop sat facing that door.

I left the room a minute, and when I came back, I was out of his sight, so he didn't know I'd returned. I stood watching him a minute.

It made me think, seeing this man with his plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee. He was just eating quietly and looking out the window. He had a simple look of contentment on his face as he ate. And it made me think.

You know, no matter what the timeframe might be, eventually there will come a day where Pop won't be around anymore. I think about the time he has, and occasionally can't help thinking that this might be the last time he does this or that. His world has become very small, and it all revolves around things like finding a good program on TV, or getting a solid night's sleep, or a blanket that's just warm enough, you know? The news comes on, then Leno follows, then maybe the pain medicine kicks in just the right way. And then perhaps he gets to sleep.

Trust me, this isn't some Hallmark movie going on here. There are those occasional head-butting bouts, and the irritations (or worse, like when he recently pulled a pot of boiling water over onto me). But we're like any other family, good days, bad days, ok days. It's just, well, the time is something that's not quite taken for granted as much lately.

And at the end of the day, those pancakes can be some pretty important things to Pop, especially if I warm the syrup just right.

These days, those pancakes are made just a little more carefully. And the syrup gets done right, you know?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Smart Ash

Saturday Morning Basketball

My 8 year old signed up for Instructional Basketball at the school. Starts at 8:30 and goes for about 90 minutes.

They run the clinics at 8:30 and 10 AM so they split it by age, and my group today is 2nd and 3rd graders.

So funny, the little girls are so serious and intense, but all the boys are interested in is diving for the ball and sliiii-iding across the floor. They spend more time on the floor than anything.

Great group of coaches. It's fun to watch people who know what it's about, dealing with little kids. Takes talent and brains, you know?

Is there anything better than seeing little kids' faces as they accomplish something new?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Techno and Some Other Stupidicity

For those who ascribe to the idea that nothing is impossible, I offer the following statement for consideration:

"Hold on a second, I just want to install this program quickly on my computer..."

I've been thinking about which gift is going to be the one that I try to get last-minute and spend 8 hours racing around trying to get.

I would imagine that if I should get to be 173 years old, I would probably start getting excited to wake up in the morning, no? That's kind of a ways off though.

If every single person in the country turned off the TV for 24 hours starting next Monday morning at 12:01 AM, how freaked out would the Nielsen Ratings people be?

I've often heard that when you die and go to heaven, all your questions will be answered. But do you think if I ask St. Peter where the hell all those socks that disappeared from the dryer are, he'll put me out?

And I'm many of us actually eat the stuff we bring home in doggy bags? I would imagine shrimp scampi is not a good idea for Fido, ya know?

And since I about lost my mind here tonight...I was talking about apologizing the other night, and then I thought of this: Did you ever have a moment where you were really snotty, or mean to some stranger that you know you'll never see again, but then wish you would so you could say you're sorry?

Ok that's enough I guess.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Did ya ever have this happen?

You do something, you think about it, then you apologize for doing it. What you don't realize is that the person totally agreed with what you did, and isn't mad, so they tell you something like, "oh don't worry about it". But you don't feel like you're off the hook?

Now you're unsettled, so maybe you apologize again, and in trying to convince yourself that it's all good, you wind up making them mad?

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Commenting Again...

My friend Jackie wrote: I tried to put this comment on your blog, but they changed the format, and I couldn't. Not without joining Google/Blogger. What's up with that? They used to let you leave a comment without doing that. Hmm...

I don't know why these companies never get to the point where they say, "OK, good product, it works, let's leave it alone now!" But it seems as though that's never going to happen.

Anyone who writes a Blog/Journal, and has comment links, likes comments. It's half the fun to read what people think about what you wrote. I like 'em, and I know a lot of people who enjoy that part of it.

Seems everytime I turn around, something's changed. I keep coming back to find those "WORD VERIFICATIONS" back on my comments section, even though I took them out. And my blog is designed to invite anyone and everyone to comment, and they don't need any accounts etc., to do so.

Anyway, if you're interested in gettin' involved here, and can't get it to work, I'll try and help. This step-by-step is the best offering I can make. Note, these instructions work with my blog setup. Some other blogs might have a variation on the theme

So when you get to the end of an entry or posting, you'll see one of two ways to comment:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Once you click that, you should be brought to a page like this one:

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You can start by entering the comment you want to make here:

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Then you can just scroll down

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Where you'll see these options:

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Pick the way you want to go:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And then all you have to do is click the publish button

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That should do it.

Love to hear from you soon!

Secret Santa Time

OK so I got a reminder, and for once I'm going to actually do something on time. (thanks for the reminder, by the way!)

So if you indicated that you want to participate in the Secret Santa, here's how we thought it would work best:

  • Send your address to Jaime or to can email it using the contact Stupid link on the right

  • When you send your address, please include your name! Then, indicate whether you want to use a Screen Name or Nickname instead of your real name when your info is shared with your Secret Santa.

  • When we have all the names, we will randomly assign each person someone to send a gift to.

  • Remember now, the gift should be something that kind of represents the state you live in. It can be a souvenir with the State name on it, or something like that. Nothing crazy expensive...this is for fun!

OK, so start shooting those addresses to us (and if you can please put Secret Santa Address in the subject line)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Things They Do

I love my children.

Here, let me say that again. I love my children.

But they do things. Things that convince me that kids are the reason parents get old and die. Things that make me do things like talking to myself.

Some parents, when frustrated, mix up the kids' name.

I invent words: "I can't believe this. This is ungood!"

Ungood. Yes.

In the normal course of life, parents have to teach things to the kids by setting rules: "Don't run into the street"; "Don't play with matches!"

A normal parent shouldn't have to come up with rules like, "Don't butter the dishwasher!", "Don't peel your brother!"

But my kids come up with things to do. In particular, things involving computers.

I had to tell my kids not to unplug cables and wires from the computer. The same kids who don't want to walk the dog 300 feet, will mount this monstrous computer desk, squeeze their bodies into the 4-square-inch space back there, to unplug the pretty purple keyboard cable from the back of the computer.

"Why is the keyboard unplugged?"

"I wanted to see something..."

"See what, how the computer looks when you can't do anything with it? Maybe we'll take the tires off the car next?"

As a dedicated computer geek, I did think outside the box a little. I instructed my kids on some do's and don't's with computers...don't Instant Message with Myspace (too young) not click on hyperlinks in Instant Messages or emails, especially from strangers

Well my oldest got an Instant Message from someone she didn't know. There was a hyperlink in the message.

She, of course, clicked it, and unleashed a Trojan Horse the likes of which have not been seen since Odysseus. The computer languished, unusable, a veritable paperweight for months. Why?

We're all familiar with rhetorical questions, you know, the ones you ask but don't really expect an answer to. "Do I look like an idiot?" or "Did I not make myself clear?"

My rhetorical question that day was, "Where's the little packet with the system disks that came with the computer?"

Yesh, right. Enter the confused, quizzical looks on multiple faces.

This house I'm staying in has magazines dating back to the 1960's, toy parts to things we can't even remember or identify, but that little, tiny packet was a source of intolerable clutter, so, naturally, out it went.

Thanks only to the good people at Dell was I able to get the necessary disks replaced. That kept me from breaking a rule of my own: "No bungee jumping off the roof, ok?"

I remember as a kid my Mom saying, "You keep making that face, it's going to stay that way!"

Well, seems she knew what she was talking about. My face is permanently disfigured now, in what I can only describe as a cross between a confused grimace and a deep scowl.

'cause my kids do things

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Body Wars

I've been doing a pretty thorough job of destroying
my own body, but I do manage to get some outside help. Yesterday, I was
boiling some water for spaghetti. Pop reached into the stove area for something
or other, and knocked the pot over. I have a few blisters, but for the most
part, let's just say we got lucky.
I remember living in NY City, and lying in bed at night.
There were times where it was actually quiet, but occasionally, out of the
blue, you'd hear this horrific sounds as two or three alley cats would decide
to brawl. It was often the suddenness of the outbreak that would startle
you. Well my oldest girl and her Mom get into it in a similar fashion -
out of the blue, WAR! And my daughter has developed this advanced weapon:
she can pitch her voice in such a way that not only does it de-calcify my
spine, it dissolves all the connective tissue in my body so that I wind
up a quivering blob on the floor in some room.

My mouth isn't safe, either. I remember as a kid, my Mom would make homemade
soups. I hated them all! Not because they weren't delicious or anything,
it's because you know when you're a kid, you don't want to wait for anything.
THESE SOUPS NEVER COOLED OFF! And that meant that quite often, hot soup
met young palate and that meant owwie.

Last night, I got the inspiration to create a large pot of homemade chicken
soup Now, being so meticulous, I turned the pot off and left it on the
stove a while to cool before putting it in the fridge. About a half-hour
later, I went to the kitchen. I lifted the lid, took a spoonful to sample
my work.


A half-hour, and this soup IS STILL THERMO-NUCLEAR.

Some power company has to look into chicken soup as a source of permanent
heat. Kinda like the sun.


It's a wonder I'm still alive.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

You Know The Type

This is something I'd been working on, then put aside. I think now that the Holiday Party Season is upon us, it might be fitting now to go ahead and publish.

When you're part of a large group of people, you'll probably encounter a number of "types". People who fit certain descriptions, who behave a certain way, no matter where you are. Let's run through the list quickly, shall we?

  • The Grouch:There's always that one person who arrives in a bad mood, usually after most of the others arrive. They're wearing a scowl, they're usually mumbling about something negative. Traffic stinks, the government sucks, and the Internet provider is screwing them, yet again. Everyone seems to start walking on rice paper, trying to placate The Grouch.When they get near me, I usually show them my concealed weapon

  • The Patient: always ready to recite the litany of medical woes that have befallen them. Can name diseases and conditions that you have never heard of, usually in anatomical order, from head to toe.When I run into Patients, I usually just play dead until they go away

  • The It's My Party Girl: ready to dampen the mood with tales of her latest romantic disaster, canceled Engagement, and the like. Never fails to mention how bad men really are, and that if you're happy, it's just a matter of time. "They're all dogs!"When this one gets near me, I usually just growl

  • The Born-Again: No, not the religious kind. This person was eating out of pig troughs two weeks ago, but thanks to a miserably-failed physical exam recently, is now on the path to righteousness and good health. That'd be ok, normally, but the Born Again wants to change your life now, too, and will inform you just how every single item on the buffet will cause you to suffer a hideous death.When this one gets in my face, I usually just do something like sneeze on their food and walk away

  • Sporty: no, not the Spice Girl. This is the weekend warrior who is going to give you the latest news of the sporting events in their life. They coach, they play, you hear about it. All of it. They usually whine that they wish the host would turn off the music and turn on the TV so they can catch "the game". With this clown, I usually launch into how I won the Heavyweight Title of the World by knocking out Muhammad Ali in the third round. Then I leave.

  • The Politico. No one really likes to talk politics, and most times people will avoid it. That is, unless Politico is present. This person will find any and every opportunity to begin spewing their nonsense. You could be telling a friend how you spent the afternoon trimming the rose bushes, and off he goes: "Speaking of Bush..." When this one gets started, I'll look behind them, scream "OH MY LORD!" and run.

  • Bargain Person: always buys what you bought, but got it $50 bucks cheaper. They always, ALWAYS get a better deal than you, and they live to tell you that. I'll just say something like, "Yeah, well I can't believe that guy would say that about you" and walk away.

  • The Anti-Person: no matter what comes up, they hate it. "Oh I can't be bothered with that crap..." "That movie sucked!" (the one that just topped $300 trillion in box office), "Only an idiot would do that!" You eventually realize that no matter what you do, you're "an idiot". I offer this person a soaking-wet hand in a handshake. Usually gives you time to walk away

  • The Joker: you could be at a funeral for crying out loud, and this guy's got "a great one!" You get a 15-minute monologue, and then you have to do that "socially-polite" laugh. Ugh. I'll typically ask this person how long they've been fighting that illness...

  • Can't Have That Person: Doesn't eat meat. Hates vegetables, looks for onion soda and is surprised you didn't buy some. Is lactose-intolerant, peanut-allergic; seafood makes him swell, popcorn upsets his diverticulitis, and he doesn't care for chocolate. Sushi is too risky. He wants soy milk for his decaf, he asks if the shaker is filled with sea-salt. Cakes give him heartburn, alcohol raises his blood pressure, and yet he still manages to stay alive. This one is actually a lot easier to accomodate than you think: just give him a bingo chip and a quart of motor oil and tell him to sit down and shut up.

  • The Singer: has a singing voice that hits your skull like a dull drill, but insists on randomly bursting out in song at frequent intervals throughout the evening.Everytime someone like this opens up, I'll just start coughing very loudly

  • The Contrarian: will take the opposite side of every opinion expressed, even if it means contradicting themselves several times through the day. Loves the Death Penalty at 9 PM, hates it at 11:30.When I've had enough, I'll say something like, "Didn't I kill you in Korea?

  • But my personal favorite one is The Expert: knows everything about everything. You don't, and she's gonna educate the misinformed. All night. 'nuff said.

The weird thing is, these people are annoying, abrasive and flat-out unwelcome, yet they'll be there, somehow. Why is that?

Have fun noticing them next time you're out, ok?

An Open Appeal!

One thing I have come to understand is that Blogging can be a source of great information.

So here's my situation. In addition to his cancer, Pop has fallen victim to colitis. He's also been a long-time sufferer of diverticulitis, as well as major lactose-intolerance.

Stay with me now...

So part of the job-description for me has been preparing meals. I'm living with my kids and their Mom, so pulling off meals that Pop can live with, and the others can enjoy has not been easy.

Now I have been consulting a lot of websites. The diverticulitis is seeds, nuts, popcorn, etc. Don't cook with them much anyway. But the colitis is a tough cookie. There is no "Colitis Diet" so to speak. There are some definite foods to avoid: high-fat things like bacon and sausage. Meats need to be lean, which can often translate to dry. But mostly, you keep track of "trigger foods" which can set off an attack, and avoid them in the future. Sadly, "trial and error" can mean a few flare-ups while we learn.

So I've come up with a few sure things to go with in the "safe" category. Chicken and turkey sit well with him. (stuffing doesn't!). You kind of go against convention in that you are advised to avoid high-fiber foods. Eggs are good, and low-fiber foods are acceptable, especially during flare-ups.

Well, after cooking all the "ok" dishes, I find that the menu is rather limited. There's a lot of foods out there that he used to love, but can't have any more. He can eat pancakes just fine, just no sausage. Bacon is out. Most pork foods are out, as a matter of fact. Foods that start out ok can wind up in fatty recipes. He doesn't care much for stews and casseroles, which are usually fatty in nature anyway, but chicken-breast cutlets, lean cuts of pork (tenderloin) do ok. I made a dry-roast eye round of beef which sat pretty well with him, so there is a lot of confusion here at Chez Stupid, you know?

Anyone who cares to be kind to Stupid here, contributing a recipe to me would be much appreciated. If it fits in the comments I'll keep an eye there, or you could use the contact link on the top right of my page. I would really appreciate it. Managing the menus for Pop, a teenaged girl, a growing boy and an 8 year old girl, along with their slightly-finicky Mom has been quite the challenge. Maybe a reality show is in the works!

Thanks in advance. I really need your help!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


A friend of mine asked me if I'd watched the CBS show "Kid Nation" this week. I hadn't. I saw one episode, and that was enough.

For anyone who isn't quite familiar with the premise of the show, a group of kids were brought to a town where they would be filmed while living without adult supervision or intervention (other than for obvious safety and security reasons). The show follows these kids as they live in a "world" that they rule.

The show isn't doing too well in the ratings. In fact, I don't know anyone who watches it. I think CBS missed the mark here. A show about kids running the world, doing what they want to, by their own rules? Fellas, that's not a show. That's what a lot of us see way too much of in the real world, thanks. I'm not going to add an hour of that kind of torture to my world on purpose!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting To Be That Time...

Get one here

A Christmas Idea

Hi Folks!

My friend Jaime had a great idea and told me about it. It's sort of a twist on the ol' Kris Kringle/ Secret Santa projects of old. What she thought would be fun, and I agree, would be for a bunch of people from different states throw in together, and exchange little gifts for Christmas this year. The fun thing is, she suggested it be like a souvenir from your home state, and I think it's a great idea. Every state has something that shows up in souvenir shops (NY has the statue of Liberty or the Empire State building), or some unique product. Just something fun to exchange for Christmas, as a way of connecting among J-Landers or Bloggers, nothing over-the-top or expensive (it is the thought that counts, right?)

I always liked getting things like that, but it's been a while since I have. Maybe you'd like to join in on something like that. We can iron out the details...maybe we could throw all the names into a hat and secretly assign each participant a recipient to send to? The most important step, though, would be to get some indications of interest first (no sense planning if no one wants to play, right?)

Anyone can participate. Just either leave a comment, or shoot an email and let us know if you're into it, and we'll work out the fine print from there.

Hope to hear from you!

Hmm, A Little Revisit

Doing what I've been doing lately, TV becomes a bit of a mainstay in the daily routine. There are times where I have to sit and watch daytime TV (typically during the daytime), and there's only so much Discovery Channel you can take, you know? And the movie channels seemingly believe that we want to watch "original programming" instead of movies (the kind of thinking that drove MTV to stop broadcasting Music, I guess).

There are a host of morning shows, like the Today show. These magazine shows are on all the major networks, so they became my second choice.

One thing I've noticed that's common to all of these shows is that they routinely air segments dealing with relationship issues. And typically, the topic is how to fix broken romances. More specifically, the theme is "how to fix a relationship with a man."

Now, I don't mean to be nasty, but, are women really trying to follow this kind of advice? The biggest problem, right off the bat, is that it's women trying to tell other women how to work with men. Hey, it's a noble cause and all, but, are you kidding me? I listen to this stuff, and I think, "WRONG!"

No matter who is giving the advice, it's the same formula: 1. Identify the problem 2. Address it in such a way that it doesn't appear to be "all about you" 3. Provide a method that winds up making it "all about you". Not good. It's like Tiger Woods giving quarterbacking advice to Peyton Manning. No one benefits there, trust me.

OK, so I'm no Dr. Phil (who is majorly full of $#$@#, in my opinion) and I'm not an expert on women, nor am I a so-called Life Coach. What I am is a guy. So I have a clue what being a guy is about.

I can tell you that most, if not all of what I've heard is guaranteed to do one thing: nothing. It's women trying to tell other women how to turn their man into a woman!

Now I'm pretty sure that these people give bad advice on purpose. It keeps them in business, for crying out loud! If they devised a perfect formula that was guaranteed to work, what would they do for the rest of their lives?

I'm not going to get paid for this, so consider it a noble gesture. But I think the time has come for one of those "Stupid men" you're always talking about, (admit it, you call men "stupid" sometimes- honesty is the first step, as they say) to step up and offer some true insight into the male of the species. I've done this in some small fashion before, but after seeing the crap that's being fed to you poor souls, I think it's time to step it up a notch.

Interested? Then go here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Big Fat HA!

I haven't posted much about my "weight-loss" program, because I haven't found a way to make it interesting, simple as that. But I'm still at it. At last check, I'm down 947 pounds, or I need a new scale...not sure.

I never have a problem with people who eat healthy, who stay in shape, etc. I just can't stomach the preachy ones. You know the type, they not only control their own diet, they want to dictate yours as well.

My diet isn't chock full of denials. There are some things I won't eat often, but there are few things I won't eat ever. One of my indulgences is a really good cheeseburger. I don't eat them a lot, but I'm always on the hunt for the "perfect" burger.

A few weeks ago, I had to hit the mall with a friend. I love her, but she's one of those holier-than-thou's when it comes to food. Granted, she's got a body to die for, but, well you know. Anyway, we hit a restaurant called Ruby Tuesdays, which I've been told has great burgers. So that's what I ordered. Of course, Ms Body ordered the Turkey Burger, while telling me that I ought to be doing the same. After I told her to be quiet, we ate our respective burgerage. So smug, she is!

Well, as luck would have it, today I caught a clip on the Today show. (how convenient). There was a guy running through the list of restaurant foods that are supposedly good for you. Ruby Tuesday's Turkey Burger was featured, and it was pointed out that someone who chose that sandwich would be better off (fat and calories-wise) to order two (2)Big Mac Sandwiches at McDonalds.

I can not wait to see her again.

Wipe Out!

When all is said and done, and it's time to just sit on the couch and veg, my favorite pastime is channel surfing. Yep, I'm one of those guys who, if left to my own devices, will happily sit and flip channels, never watching one show for too long, until I finally hit on a program to watch. I used to aggravate my friends, because I'd do that, and still be able to tell you what's going on with each show.

With the advent of these fancy cable-tv boxes, you could plug in all your favorite channels, and with the press of one button, be able to surf away to your heart's content.

But it's no fun anymore. Seems no matter what time it is, I start flippin', I get nothing but commercials. Any good surfer knew you didn't surf at the top or the bottom of the hour in the past, because that was typical commercial time. Now, it's like open-season for ads. I had 23 channels plugged in to the favorites, and when I started surfing this morning, 18 of them were broadcasting commercials when I hit them. Is it me, or are they out of control with the amount of commercials?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Songs and Memories...

Click that and listen to the tune a second. It's not the whole song, just a sample..

I think a whole lot of us have heard that song at one time or another, right? So, what do you think you were doing the first time you heard it?

Wrong Wrong Wrong

I don't think it's in our nature to enjoy being proven wrong. We usually don't like it when we make a statement and it gets completely debunked. Not usually something we enjoy.

Not usually.

I carried on pretty hard the other night, decrying society's propensity for selfishness, along with an ever-evolving ability to rationalize that behavior until we convince ourselves that what we're doing (or not doing, as the case may be) is just fine and dandy.

Well, leave it to me to be 100% wrong.

Yesterday, there was an invasion here at my home. Pop's grandkids made an appearance, accompanied by their Moms. By 1 PM, the population here was up to about 15 of us. They came to visit Pop-Pop, as they call him. Kids ranging in ages from 8 to 22 converged in one loud, happy, giggling crowd. 12 females, and 3 males. My son lucked out for once, as one of the girls had her boyfriend with her, and they hit it off, so it was a great day all around.

Chef Lippy Louie here got to do what he loves best: cooking a big meal for a whole lotta people. We had a second Thanksgiving here in Stupidville.

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry, vegetables and biscuits! (yep I made 'em and they were NOT hockey pucks!) But I have to be honest, the best, most tasty dishes I got to sample were a big, heaping helping of Crow, followed by a nice portion of Humble Pie.

Pop had a HELL of a day, and I was proven wrong, big-time.

I love being wrong.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Something I'm Pondering...

So now that Pop is living here, I expected a lot more people to at least stop by and say hello. He's local now (in some cases, very local) to a lot more folks than he was.

I'm a little surprised about something that's been said to me by some of those people.

Basically, the sentiment is along the lines of: "I would really rather not see him in this condition. I'd rather remember him the way he was."

Pop isn't dead. This isn't about a wake. The man is alive, conscious, cognizant.

The man is alive.

I'm usually what I would consider "sensitive" and "respectful" of others' feelings, but I think that is a major crock. What a horrible thing to think of.

This man should be punished for being sick with cancer because a bunch of people are, once again, thinking of themselves? A visit with him isn't about you, my friends, it's about him.

Are you kidding me?

You don't want to spoil your memories of him?

I personally think this is just another bullshit rationalization to explain away not putting themselves to any inconvenience. They all knew where he was when they needed money (lots of it) or a place to hang out (he always had nice boats that people should also have fond "memories" of.)

I'm getting really sick of the kind of people I'm coming into contact with more and more. When the hell is the Me Generation going to get a grip and drop the whole "all about me" crap? And stop spewing this Dr. Phil kinda garbage. Not everything on Earth is designed with "your feelings" in mind.

I just had to spit that out there. It was leaving a lump in my throat.

THE Sandwich

Now, I really love Thanksgiving and all, but my favorite part of the whole occasion is the leftovers. My family had its own tradition that I carried forth with me to this day. We would all sit around, stuffed to the gills, barely able to move while we watched football, etc. Just about the time we could all actually breathe without breaking or tearing, Grandma would begin to carve up whatever turkey was left, and the Sandwiches would begin.

It got to the point where the importance of Sandwiches almost (almost) superceded that of the meal. As the family grew, so did the demand for turkey. Eventually, my own Mom began preparing an additional 5 or 6 pound turkey breast specifically cooked for the Sandwiches portion of the evening. We were not about portion control that day.

I don't know of a tradition I cherish more than that one. We'd watch as everyone developed their own tastes and Sandwich style. (I capitalize "Sandwich" out of reverence, by the way)

So every year, the day comes, and the tradition continues. (Aside- I remember spending one Thanksgiving away from the family, and nearly cried when there was no time-slot for Sandwiches after.) This year, I cooked dinner to include Pop. For years, his family gathered at his late Sister's home for T-Day. I used to attend that meal before going to my Mom's for Dinner #2 that day. I did my best to recreate his Sister's menu from those days, down to the stuffed mushrooms. But while I was planning the menu, I was very careful to allow enough turkey for Sandwiches. The meal went well, if I must say so myself, and at 10:30 PM last night, I sat down to the TV with the Stupid Turkey Sandwich in hand.

My own version of THE Sandwich is: white-meat turkey, cranberry sauce and dressing (which we around here call "stuffing", appropriately) on a buttered Kaiser roll with salt and pepper.

So, are there any gluttons out there like me? If so, what's your version of The Sandwich?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To A Whole Lot Of People!

The funny thing is, this time of year, we go through the motions, saying all the right things, sharing the right emotions. We're thankful for our family, our friends, our lives, mostly because we're supposed to be, and we would never think to say otherwise.

The thing is, when those people step up and really make a difference just when you need it most, it's almost like an epiphany. Genuine gratitude and appreciation feels good. You figure out that there was a need, and all these wonderful people around you filled that need. And all of a sudden, the world isn't so bad now, is it?

This year, I think I qualified as "needy". Sometimes I use that term in a not-so-flattering way, but for me it was an incredible experience. Some day, I'm going to share the details, but for today I'm just going to say "thank you." Thank you to the wonderful people in my life. I really have a whole list of things to be grateful for, and that's an awesome feeling.

Cassie and Emily, I don't know what I'd do without you, and I would rather never know what that would be guys so much. I guess we never get too old to appreciate having a hand to hold. You've literally carried me through some of the worst times of my life.

Nance, you're always there to remind me that no one is ever really alone.

Kristen, your words of kindness and inspiration were priceless. I hope you know they ALL mattered and while we're at it, Mamma, you too. I look forward to some more debate/collboration. Thank you.

NF, you said a few nice things, as did Holly-I wish you well. Pam, Jackie and Jackie, Nettie, Myra, Catherine, Kathy, Tracie, my old friends from AOL, you're always there. Really. And, by the way Catherine, you're an inspiration.

Sam, Gaz, Marty, Mort, Cubby, Tusk, Steve and Jeff: fellas, I think someday we all need to sit down to a few hundred beers. And maybe Sam and I could jam a little on those guitars.

Sharlene, you're a pretty Lady who says pretty things to me. Thank you. El-Em-Es, I'm still getting to know ya, but I am so glad that I am. Jodi, as always, thank you. Diesel, thanks for raising the humor bar. Emily-Two-Write: I don't always comment, but I always read. Thanks for reminding me of the value of good work. Kelly, keep those opinions coming my friend, it's nice to have kindred spirits. Lily, we think alike, but I'm not sure if you'd want anyone to know that! I love your take on things, and your input. Kelly and Pickle~Jenn, I'm glad you're my friends. Stacy, hang in there. I hope to be as good a friend to you as you've been to me.

Niki and Dave- few people ever did more for me than you two did when I was injured and laid up for months. No one should ever forget that kindness. Love you guys, and we'll sit down together again, very soon.

Kristeee, thank you for being nice to me 100% of the time. That can't be easy. Chosha, your adventures and ideas always kept me thinking. Let me know if that camera is a winner so I can get one too :). Hillary, your writing is amazing. I don't use that word too often.

Andi,what can I say. Love you.

Barb, I hope the South is treating you well. Stay safe with that new truck because you're a friend I can't do without.

Ally, I know that Blogger doesn't cooperate, so thanks for letting me know you're here!

Allison, I am SO glad you're back. Joan, Betty, Suzy, Becky, you too! And Celeste. My other Ally, it's always good to hear from you :)

Anne, you're like an angel on my shoulder. I love your every word. And the e-Cards.

Janice, your professional guidance the last few months has been priceless. Your friendship, more so. Thank you so much; you're someone else I couldn't have done without. I hope you know that.

Danielle, my partner in crime...hang in there. Time flies a lot more quickly than you think. You were my first Journals friend. And one of the best. Love you my friend.

Lindsay, keep sharing those stories about your little guy. And let me know how Brooklyn's treatin' ya.

Celeste, glad you found me again. Barb, you too, because your spiritual inspiration is priceless.

Nemesis, you're one of my heroes. I need way more of your attention :)

Cynthia, keep sorting and I'll keep reading. Donna, welcome back.

Tricia, we're working on it. I think it's worth it in the long run.

Marie, Jeannette, Missie, Nikki, Niki,Indigo... I always think of you, your lives, and I consider you friends. Shows how powerful the Internet is, since we've never even met. People connect any way they can, right?

Erin, love ya babe :)!

Tiffany, we agree on so much. But I still think you're great :)

Jill, B, Barry, Terry Ü, thanks for the kind words the other day.

Michele and Patti, two of my oldest, dearest, cherished "blog" friends. Thanks for hanging in there with me all this time; and Michele, glad you decided to give blogging another try!

Jude, when I think of someone consistent, steady, solid and always there, you come to mind. Thank you so much. Michelle, a new friend, I'm so glad we've "met". Your kindness goes a lot farther than you realize. Shash, thanks for turning me on to BlogHer, a great resource. Terri, thank you for taking the time to say nice things. Tammy, you epitomize strength and courage. The idea that you would take the time to try and lend some support to me, well, that just speaks volumes of the person you are.

Marina, you're awesome. Always thinkin' of your pal Stupid. Love ya.

Terra, I think of you every time I have hobo packs. And when I think of good people who love me. You're always there. Really. Love ya.

Martha, I'm so glad you let me into your Journals. I like the way you think. Thanks for being a caring friend.

Mary, some day you and I are going to hug. That's the only way I could ever imagine thanking you for every word you've every shared. I don't know what I did to deserve your friendship, but I'm glad I did it. Thank you so very much.

Rachel, you think you're weird, I think you're great. And I appreciate you finding time to show a few words of support.

Meta, just to remind you, you're still missed.

Christy, Julia, Annie, Joan, Robin, Bridgette, Jeanne, Jenny and Susan,we still manage to stay in touch, and you still manage to say the right things when you come here. Thank you.

And Lady M, you're back! I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Glad you're doing well!

I really did my best here, to thank everyone who took a few minutes of their lives to help me with mine. You're all terrific, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate that you've indulged me this far, today. It was the only sincere thing I could do.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.

It Might Be True

People who champion legitimate causes rarely have to resort to extreme behavior or ridiculous displays. They simply speak their opinion, and allow common sense to take its course.


Very strange today. We had a major cellphone outage in my area for quite a few hours.

No one could drive.


OK, something normal is on the way... I'll be back.

Monday, November 19, 2007

In A Pinch

In the past year, I've learned a thing or two about responding to emergencies. Thank God there are some very sensible ways to handle real-life situations, because in the world of "quick-fixes", I must be in the wrong solar system.

There are way too many products that have failed me in a pinch. Too many times, these things didn't come through when I needed them most.

I have never fixed anything with Krazy Glue. I'm sure if I managed to snap a balsa wood board in half, this product would do just fine. I'm reminded of a long-ago Christmas night, trying to desperately repair a broken toy using this stuff. The only things it stuck together were 4 things I didn't need it to. Luckily, my ski gloves were mittens that night.

Anbesol, Ora-Gel, same thing. No luck, no relief. After using those, I had a numb tongue to go with my still-aching tooth. I think there should be some sort of study to figure out why toothaches only happen at 2 AM, and on holidays.

Similarly, I can remember using this goop designed to act as a temporary filling. Picture a toothache accompanied by a mouth full of Play-Doh. At 2 AM. On Christmas.

AOL. I was a paying customer for years. I'm not sure why. Every time I had to bang out a late-night email to save the day, thanks to America Online, the day was not saved.

And who among us hasn't desperately hoped against hope that that the Emergency Tire Repair in-a-can would come through. Yeah it came through: right through the nozzle and all over the pavement. And my hands. It did get the Krazy Glue loose, though.

My most recent debacle was using one of these on-the-spot Spot removers, be it Tide To Go or whatever. This product transformed a spot of tomato sauce on my shirt into a glaring announcement: "This nitwit needs a bib."

If you've had success with any of the above, I applaud your good fortune. But I'll bet there are more than a few like me out there. We're easy to spot: we're the guy driving down the street on a flat tire, with a big stain on our shirt, and one eye in a permanent wink, moaning from tooth pain, and holding something broken.

Wave when you see us.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Out On The Town

Just some stuff that's been on my mind on the road...

I use the made-up term "foofy" a lot. It's my word for those over-the-top kinds of people and products, you know the type. You're really hungry, say, and you sit down to a restaurant meal, and it's one of those places that plops down really big plates with tiny portions of food in the middle, and then presents you with a huge bill. Foofy people wear things like $1000 cashmere socks. You get the idea.

I've been doing so much driving lately, in places I haven't really visited before. While you obviously can't know everything about a place simply by driving through it, you can bet your assessments aren't far off if you know what to look for.

Now aside from the countless McMansions that pop up on the landscape like so many photocopies, with lawns the size of Cleveland, there are some signs that you're in a foofy town. Foofy is Dunkin' Donuts is replaced by something like "Tad's Pasty Emporium". There's not an "Ace Hardware" within miles (what ever would we purchase there, Lovey?); gas stations take on such names as "Crescent Automotive and Fuel Center". (We'll not have any of those ExxonMobil rabscallions, darling!)

Foofy is citizens strolling "Main Street" instead of strip malls, browsing at baby "boutiques" and shops with such names as "Martha's Fine Antiques". Foofy is $300 "organic" shopping bags on the arm of every local Soccer Mom (must go "green", my Precious). Foofy means merely speaking the names "Walmart" or "Target" causing you to be branded a veritable social pariah.

Foofy would never tolerate an eatery called a "Shack" unless the menu features such things as chocolate-covered escargot during the US Open, because then it's trendy, My Sweet. Foofy towns don't require "Convenience Stores" (the Help takes care of that, Bluebell). You can almost smell the fine Corinthian leather, Butterfly, as you cruise among automobiles whose collective value rivals the Gross National Product.

The closest thing you'll find to BBQ here, Muffy, is "finely grilled Tilapia". But don't worry too much about Foofy places like this, my Shiny Brass Monkey. Most of us won't spend much time here.

Our kind isn't welcome, Cookiepuss.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

To American Schoolchildren

Hi kids,

Every year at this time, your teachers probably have you do a project where you're asked to write a letter or make a greeting card to send to a United States military veteran.

I'll bet that sometimes, some of you wonder why you have to do it, or if your card or letter gets to a Veteran. I'll bet that some kids ask why a Veteran would care about that.

Let me tell you a quick story. My Pop is in a Veterans's Hospital today. In honor of Veterans Day, the people who make the food for the patients put a student's letter on the tray of every patient here. My Pop got one too. He read it, looked at me and said, "Isn't that something? I got a nice note from a kid I don't even know, telling me 'thank you'. What do you think of that?

I think it's great. And for every one of you kids or young adults who took the time to write one of those cards or letters, thank you. And thank you from every Veteran here at this hospital. Your letter really made a difference, and it really did matter. I saw that with my own eyes today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Do You Do?

Throughout this whole ordeal with Pop, we haven't lost sight of reality. The cancer is Stage 4, and I know that a 77-year old man has to muster a lot of strength to hang in there and fight. But we know what the possibilities and probabilities are.

At one point, one of the hospital staff at the local hospital introduced the idea of hospice care. Pop interprets hospice as where you go to die. He asked me, very clearly, to get him back into the care of the V.A. doctor, as he wasn't ready to give up the fight.

I remember how much that encounter upset him, and how I nearly had to take a blood oath to assure him that I was behind his decision to fight, all the way. But one thing I've learned about cancer is that it doesn't care about you, or your will to live. It's a very versatile enemy, and defeating it is a formidable task. Every time you knock one of its attacks down, it finds a way to regroup and come at you again.

While we've maintained a positive attitude with him, we've not lost sight of the real consequences. We've made it a point to let him experience as many of his favorite things at least one more time (had to drive 30 miles for a Nathan's Hot Dog!) without actually accepting that each time could very well be the last. You can't live like that. His comfort has been paramount. We've learned to make his favorite meals "just so" (slightly picky, you know?) and I made a big hit with him introducing him to Discovery Military Channel. It's about making every minute count, you know? Through the beauty of technology, I've been able to record all his sporting events, which we've watched at all times of the day and night. Life hasn't been awful.

We got less-than-desirable news yesterday from Pop's lead Oncologist. The lesion on his liver stopped shrinking, and in fact, the latest CAT scan showed it may have increased in size. On top of that, it appears that the original cancer of the right lung has made a comeback to hurt him again. The Doctor has been very involved and caring, with an incredibly comforting bedside manner. As he spoke to me on the phone, I had to take a minute because my throat tightened to the point where I absolutely couldn't speak. He waited.

He asked me to find a way to get him to the hospital to treat his current pain. The drive is about 120 miles to NY, since we hadn't completed the transfer to our local V.A. Medical Center. This Doctor has brought him so far, been so concerned and caring, that I told him if Pop could tolerate the long ride, I would indeed have him there. The Doctor also asked if we wanted him to inform Pop of the latest developments.

Part of me wanted to take that responsibility. I felt for a minute that news like that should come from family. But I chickened out. His daughter did as well. This Doctor has become like family to us, and we both felt that the issue would be better addressed by someone better prepared to answer the inevitable questions with the equally inevitable answers. My heart broke, as did hers, but we decided to leave that task to the Doctor.

We made the drive last night, and by 3 AM he was in a bed, resting comfortably. I returned to Pop's former residence to spend the night. I haven't been able to get myself up to going back just yet. I know it isn't going to be a good day. I'll get myself together, suck it up, and remember who's feelings are really at stake here. But in the meantime, I'm picturing poor Pop, this former US Marine, who survived combat at Inchon in Korea, now reduced to 107 pounds. Will this news reduce his desire to fight this enemy any more? I know him 30-some-odd years, and if there was ever a guy who personified "tough", this is the guy.

I, on the other hand, am not feeling so "manly" at the moment. I'm half-regretting my decision not to break the bad news. Now I feel, the least I can do, is to get up there and be ready for the fallout.

It's just a lousy break. I'm sad.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Winds of Change

Nope, nothing broke except my big "S" pictured here. I have had a number of people mention that my blog layout was difficult to read, and today a good friend brought it up, so I thought I would be accommodating.

Bad enough you're stuck reading this nonsense, it shouldn't be painful to the eyes as well. So, that's that. Hope you like it!

To Believe, Or Not to Believe

I'm just curious. Those of us who have religious belief rely on Faith to sustain us. But, religion aside, there are other things that we are often faced with, as matters of whether to believe or not.

We're frequently faced with choices of "belief" at least a few times in our lives. Think of ghost stories, extra-terrestrials, etc. Now I'm not talking about matters of religious nature, just more like the unexplained.

What is your tendency when faced with situations where there is a hint of evidence, but no proof? Are you the type who dismisses the unexplained as myth and fantasy, or do you sometimes accept things that no one can prove?


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketUnfortunately, one of the by-products of a change in the home environment seems to be a disruptions in routines. With the addition of Pop to the household, things got a little out of sorts.

Kids are affected by changes in routine, and there are usually two schools of thought when kids misbehave. One is that there is a cry for attention, and the other is that kids are typically going to take the path of least resistance and are clever enough to know when they can take advantage of a situation.

We're in a little slump with the schoolwork, it seems. My 12 year old son was awarded a detention for missing homework. I discovered that the detention isn't punishment for missing one homework, but for failing to hand in five. My 8 year old daughter decided that the class project wasn't something she felt like doing.

So last night, the Shakedown went into effect. Kids were seated comfortably at the dining-room table with Daddy's full attention. Assignment pads were checked off against work completed, and Playtime was eliminated in order to use the time to make up missed work.

As I said, the routine was disrupted a little with the addition of Pop to the household, but it could hardly be classified as a traumatic event, trust me. We slipped up on parental supervision and discipline, they slipped up on doing what they are supposed to. Like I said, path of least resistance. It's in the process of being fixed. We're not quite ready for Dr. Phil.

I like a household where the adults are in charge.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Those Thoughts Again...

I like to think that I'm always thinking (see?). I'm always thirsty for knowledge, and I love to figure out how something works. I also am a big practitioner of trying to understand people's motivations for doing things.

So it all kind of started when I heard a comedian say, "Did you ever notice, if you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal?" And it's so true. Some people call those things "ponderances", I don't really have a name for them, and if I did, it would probably be something like "Stupidicities", which I think I've used before.

Anyway, these are some things I've been thinking about.

  • I saw a commercial today, and the spokeswoman claimed that the product is "real food for real women like me." Just made me wonder, have they invented a breed of artificial people that I haven't heard about? I assume once we're born, we're all "real" people. GI Joe doesn't eat.

  • Something else I like to catch on TV is Discovery Channel's "How It's Made". For those not familiar with the premise of the show, it basically gives us tours of manufacturing processes. Kinda cool, but one thing I noticed is, there are a whole lot of manufacturing processes that don't involve people. At least not "real" people. (You think that's who that lady is talking about?)

  • You know who I find scary? People who actually live their lives according to their horoscope. I'm not talking about people who have fun with them, or enjoy the quirky coincidences that can pop up now and then, I'm talking about people who, if their horoscope said "Go stand on Main St. in a chicken suit" would feather up, baby. I actually know a few of those types. The most fun part is listening to them try and convince you that it's all real.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Peeving and Loving

We always have to get the bad stuff out first, right?

  • How many times do you see this little disclaimer: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."? Then stop making claims that aren't substantiated, ok? If it's bullshit, sell it as such. There are plenty of people who buy BS in this country. Just call it what it is.

  • Same thing with the weight-loss commercials. They'll show someone they paid to lose weight, make it look so wonderful, and then, at the bottom, you see "*Results not typical". Ok, Losers, so show me some typical results. Might sell more product with some honesty.

  • And this is addressed mostly to women in this country who appear on TV to give interviews, testimonials, etc. If what you have to say is important, speak up for crying out loud! What's going on with this whole "bedroom voice" thing? You sound like you're asking for breakfast in bed!

  • And as sort of an off-shoot of the above: I watch Food Network a lot. I get a kick out of a bunch of their shows, and since I'm in charge of the meals for more people than myself now, I like the ideas. I started watching a show called "Ace of Cakes". Have you seen it? Pretty cool stuff they put out. But!, they do little interviews with the baking team, and they all talk like they're just waking up. STOP MUMBLING!

But StupidJimmy doesn't want to give the impression that all he does is gripe and complain. I do it a lot. Yes. But sometimes I like things, too. And I often switch from "third person" to "first person" in the same paragraph. Very annoying.

But there are things that make me happy. Sometimes I smile too.

So...what makes Big Stupid grin?

  • The CBS-TV comedies, "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men". Good stuff. Clever writing.

  • Artists who actually still produce music. Fergie, Gwen Stefani, Nickleback, Pink, Maroon 5, just to name a few.

  • "Dirty Jobs" on Discovery Channel. Good stuff!

  • Ladies who state what's on their mind, particularly if they are displeased. No hints, no games, no nonsense. Say what's up, let it be addressed. Get over it, get over yourself. I respect people like this, so much.

  • Similarly, people who never seem to be displeased. They just go through life seemingly unflappable. When something is bothering them, they do tend to get your attention, don't they?

  • Ellen DeGeneres. Her daytime talk show is pretty cool.

  • The Veterans Administration Hospital at Northport, Long Island. But in particular, Nurse Acosta, Nurse Williams, and Ray. Thanks, so much, you're three wonderful people.

See, there's balance here. Have a good, balanced day now, hear?

Yeah and While We're At It...

So now I have everyone from car companies to pet-food manufacturers reminding me to "go green.". Very noble, how everyone is jumping on the environmental bandwagon. Good job.

Here's the rub for me, though. While everyone is running around telling everyone how important it is not to kill ourselves, something else is taking place. In between all the stories and tutorials, I keep seeing these news stories about product recalls.

We're buying lead-filled toys made in countries where they don't care about us very much; we're returning foods that are contaminated with such delights as E-coli. So yeah, while we're all becoming so conscientious about not harming our environment, how about all you consumer products companies become at least a little mindful about not harming us, ok?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

No Place Like...

I feel as though my faith is really being tested lately, for a lot of reasons I really won't subject you to here today. I just know that the world hasn't been doing the right thing. I can deal with my own stuff, it just really kills me to know that my kids are hurting for any reason. But, like I said, not today.

During the week I had to run a mission that was pretty involved, and I decided to spend the night at my parents' house for the layover. Funny, I'm a big boy, and I get through day-to-day, but there was nothing like the feeling of going to bed under my parents' roof. No matter what has been going on, I knew for at least that night, the world wouldn't mess with me anymore. It was a welcome relief. And the nice, hot breakfast I woke up to (imagine a 3-course breakfast!) wasn't too hard to take either, believe me.

I left their house rejuvenated that morning. Thanks, Mom and Dad.